Wicker furniture creates a timeless and inviting addition to your outdoor furniture. Wicker styles range from modern to traditional. If you've invested in quality wicker outdoor furniture, you'll want to make sure your investment lasts for many years. We've investigated how long you can expect your furniture to last and will give you tips on caring for it to extend the lifespan even further.
Properly cared for wicker furniture can last ten to 15 years. Synthetic wicker is more durable and easier to care for than natural wicker while replicating the look of traditional natural wicker.
Wicker furniture is popular on sunporches, decks, patios, and pool areas. Wicker furniture can be used indoors and outdoors; however, if you'll be keeping it outdoors, follow our tips below to ensure it stays looking its best.
What Is Wicker Furniture?
Wicker is actually a term that refers to the technique of making products by weaving natural materials. The result is a sturdy and long-lasting piece of furniture. Wicker is considered to be the oldest furniture-making technique and was invented by the ancient Egyptians. Wicker furniture has become very popular as outdoor furniture because of its beautiful appearance. It gives a higher quality feel than many plastic furniture types.
Natural Vs. Synthetic - What Is Wicker Furniture Made Of?
Synthetic wicker will wear better outdoors than natural wicker but still mimics the appearance of natural wicker. You may find synthetic wicker referred to as resin wicker, synthetic rattan, all-weather wicker, or HDPE wicker. These materials are highly durable and low maintenance.
Wicker furniture can be made from many different types of material. Anything that can be woven can be used in the wicker technique. However, there are some fibers that you'll see used in traditional wicker furniture. These include:
Paper rope is a human-made chemically treated twisted kraft paper. This material simulates early 1900 Victorian-style wicker furniture.
Seagrass is a sturdy, textured material that is found in Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines. It is very durable and has an island vibe to the style.
Rattan comes from southeast Asia. It is a tropical palm tree. This is a solid wood making long-lasting and very durable furniture.
Resin is a human-made material that simulates the natural look of wicker. It is made from high-density polyethylene plastic.
Water hyacinth is similar to rattan. It is an extremely fast-growing plant. The raw material can be used in its natural state without the need for much processing.
Bamboo resembles a rattan but has a hollow core center, while a rattan has a solid core. As a material, bamboo does tend to split more easily than rattan, so is not as sturdy as rattan furniture.
Can You Weatherproof Wicker Furniture?
Synthetic wicker furniture is crafted from waterproof materials. Look for a material with the word poly or resin to ensure resistance to the elements.
Natural wicker can be protected by apply paint, polyurethane, marine varnish, or tung oil.
Paint and Marine Varnish
Choose a specifically formulated paint for outdoor furniture and cover the piece's entire surface, including the top, bottom, underside, arms, and seats. You'll need to repeat at least every three years. After painting, apply two coats of marine varnish. If you don't want to change your furniture's color, skip the paint and use the marine varnish to maintain the original wicker coloring.
Polyurethane is available in water or oil-based forms. Make sure to choose a product designed for outdoor use. Cover your furniture completely with a thin coat of polyurethane. You'll need to give the piece plenty of time to dry. It may take six to eight hours, depending on the climate and humidity where you live. After the first coat is completely dry, apply a second.
Polyurethane is available in spray-on forms, but for wicker, a brush-on technique is better. This allows you to completely cover all the nooks and crannies in your wicker piece.
Tung oil preserves the natural look of wicker while protecting it from the elements. This oil is used to waterproof many types of wood. To use tung oil, dilute it in a spray bottle and completely spray the piece of furniture. Allow it to dry thoroughly before returning it to use.
For more details on waterproofing outdoor furniture, our post "3 Methods To Waterproof Wood Furniture For Outdoors" will give you all the specifics.
What Kind Of Oil Do You Use For Wicker Furniture?
Linseed oil will restore unpainted or natural wicker. Rub the linseed oil over the piece and then allow it to completely dry.
You can also use lemon oil to wipe down the wicker. Lemon oil helps restore wicker fibers.
How Do You Keep Wicker Furniture From Drying Out?
Natural wicker is very porous and will dry out easily. Periodically mist your wicker furniture with a plant mister or wipe with a clean damp cloth. For significantly dried-out wicker, an application of linseed oil or lemon oil will help rehydrate and restore the piece.
Cleaning Routine For Long-Lasting Furniture
Preventative maintenance is one of the best ways to keep your wicker furniture in top condition and help it last a long time. The following strategies will preserve and protect your wicker furniture.
- Brush off or vacuum as much surface dirt as possible.
- Wash with a soft brush and soapy water with one to two teaspoons of ammonia added.
- Rinse well and let your furniture dry outdoors in the sun.
- Use a can of compressed air to blow out any crevices you can't reach.
If your furniture has a lot of grime or has more than a little dust, use Murphy's Oil Soap mixed with warm water to deep clean your wicker.
Storage and Protection
Synthetic wicker is designed to withstand the elements but will still benefit from additional protection. Furniture covers will protect your wicker when not in use, and you'll want to bring your furniture inside for storage in the off-season.
Natural wicker needs extra protection. Covers will also help natural wicker, but bringing it inside out of the elements is the best protection. Even placing your furniture under an overhand or awning will help protect it.
Ensure Beautiful Wicker For Many Years
Using the tips above, your wicker furniture will remain beautiful and provide many years of enjoyment. Proper care will go along way toward preserving your wicker furniture. If you prefer a lower-maintenance approach, synthetic wicker will beautifully replicate the look of natural wicker with less care required.
If you are considering mixing wood and wicker furniture, check out our post "Can You Wicker And Wood Furniture? [Here's How To]" for tips on creating your relaxing dream space.